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Press Conference by the Chief Cabinet Secretary

June 23, 2016 (AM)

Press Conference by the Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary (Excerpt)

[Provisional Translation]


REPORTER: I have a question regarding North Korea’s missile launches. This morning, North Korea’s state-run media announced that the ballistic missiles were launched successfully. With regard to the launches, it has been confirmed that the second missile traveled a course reaching a height of 1,000 km. What is your analysis regarding these characteristics and the objectives of the launches?  

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: We are aware of the reports you have referred to. With regard to the second launch, while we are continuing to analyze the details, considering that the missile flew approximately 400 km and reached an altitude of over 1,000 km as you referred to, it could be presumed that the ballistic missile launched was the medium-range ballistic missile Musudan. The launch of a missile presumed to be the medium-range ballistic missile Musudan, coupled with its exhibition of a medium-range ballistic missile’s functions to some extent, pose a serious concern to the security of Japan. In any case, it is totally unacceptable that North Korea is taking provocative actions and not showing any intention of abandoning its nuclear and missile development. Japan will strongly urge North Korea to sincerely heed the strong warnings and condemnation repeatedly expressed by the international community, and to comply faithfully and fully with the series of relevant United Nations (UN) Security Council resolutions, without taking further provocative actions. With regard to the main objectives of the launches, we have not yet conducted adequate analyses, and the objectives have not been ascertained at this point in time.

REPORTER: I have a related question. The UN Security Council held an emergency meeting. I take it that it will begin considering its statement that will condemn North Korea and so on. How will the Japanese Government be engaged in this activity, and what kind of a statement will the Government be aiming for?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: On the morning of the 23rd, which is today, or yesterday afternoon New York time, the Security Council held informal consultations based on a request for an emergency meeting of the Security Council submitted by Japan, the United States, and the Republic of Korea (ROK). At the meeting, the UN Secretariat briefed on the recent launches, and on this basis, an exchange of views took place among the members. All countries expressed condemnation and concerns over North Korea’s ballistic missile launches. Japan, as a member of the UN Security Council, will seek suitable responses. Japan will continue to call on North Korea to refrain from further provocations, and will take appropriate responses in close partnership with our ally the United States, the ROK, and other relevant countries, including at the forum of the UN Security Council. As of now, the statement has not yet been issued. As it is clear that the launches violate the Security Council resolutions that have already been adopted, Japan as a matter of course will seek rigorous responses in coordination with the international community.


REPORTER: I would like to change the subject. The U.K. national referendum on whether or not the country should leave the European Union (EU) will be held today from 3 PM JST. The Japanese Government has already expressed the view that the United Kingdom remaining in the EU is desirable. If the United Kingdom were to leave, it will likely have significant impact from an economic perspective, as well as a security perspective. Is the Japanese Government making any prior preparations in the case that the result is withdrawal from the EU? If the Government is making preparations, can you tell us what sort of scenarios it is envisioning? 

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: It is up to the people of the United Kingdom to decide whether the United Kingdom should stay in or leave the EU. However, as this matter also concerns the national interests of Japan, to date Japan has expressed the view that the United Kingdom remaining in the EU is desirable, as you mentioned. The Government expects that the United Kingdom and the EU, as influential players on the international stage, will continue to contribute to rules-based peace and stability in the international community, including Asia. We are of course concerned about the impacts that the U.K. national referendum could have on the financial and exchange rate markets. We consider rapid fluctuations in the financial and exchange rate markets to be undesirable and market stability to be critically important, and will closely monitor the market trends. I would like to refrain from commenting on our concrete measures.


REPORTER: This morning, some media outlets reported that an organization claiming to be the “Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant” (ISIL) published on the Internet a list which contains the personal information of 4,000 people from around the world, and that it called on its supporters and others to murder the people on the list. I understand Japanese nationals are included in the list. Can you please tell us what the Government knows and about the authenticity of the list?

DEPUTY CHIEF CABINET SECRETARY HAGIUDA: We are aware of the reports you have referred to. We understand that the list contains names of people who appear to be Japanese nationals. The Government is now gathering and analyzing information, including with regard to the authenticity of the list, in coordination with the relevant agencies. With respect to the authenticity of the list, I understand that the companies that reported this have already received notifications that the addresses and telephone numbers are incorrect. We will be carefully examining this.


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